Monday, April 07, 2008

Another attack on same-sex families and those who support them in Massachusetts

I have written on several occasions about David Parker, the parent in Massachusetts who tried to make it seem that his child was being “taught about homosexuality” in his kindergarten class.

Parker started a huge controversy several years ago, including being arrested because he claimed that the school would not give assurances that his child would not be taught about homosexuality.

In reality, he tried to push a incorrect definition of the state’s “opt-out”policy that said parents could opt-out their children when schools were teaching sex education.

Parker and his supporters tried to claim that the “opt-out” included discussions or even mentions of same-sex families.

This was not true and it has been the saving grace for the school, Joseph Estabrook Elementary, throughout the controversy, the lawsuits and all of the mess.

Let’s hope this continues because it looks like the situation is coming up again.

Apparently Mass Resistance, the group behind Parker and his controversy, is trying to start something up again.

The superintendent of schools, Paul Ash, sent out a letter to the editor to a local newspaper that in part said the following:

On March 18, we presented to the School Committee this new, formalized diversity curriculum in preparation for next year, when we plan to pilot four to five short units in each elementary grade. Some units will focus on families, including families with single parents, foster parents, and gay and lesbian parents. Other units will focus on racial and ethnic diversity and other areas in which human beings differ from one another. Resources in this curriculum include books, materials, and discussion points that help children feel welcome and allow them to talk about their families and the families of their friends. Some units will focus on stereotyping, historical roots of discrimination, and bullying.

Sounds nice, don’t it. Think again. It seems the part about same-sex parents got someone’s knickers in a dither. Allegedly a parent sent the following letter to the principal of Joseph Estabrook Elementary:

I will absolutely require prior notification to any discussion, education, training, reading or anything at all related (even remotely) to homosexuality. It is quite clear by the email I just received that you have a very specific agenda and my family will be exercising our rights to be notified and not to participate. This goes against everything we believe and practice. Thank you in advance for your expected cooperation.

The letter was forwarded to Paul Ash, who sent the following letter back:

Ms. Batten has forwarded to me your recent email. Ms. Batten told me that you are new to town and perhaps you are not aware of the lawsuit decided by the United States Court of Appeals (Parker vs. Hurley). This case established Lexington's right to teach diversity units, including stories that show same gender parents. The court decided we are not required to inform parents in advance of teaching units that include same gender parents or required to release students when such topics are discussed. The Appeals Court dismissed the claim that parents have a right to require the school provide advance notice or the right to remove their children. In addition, the School Committee has decided that teachers must be able to teach topics they feel are appropriate without the requirement parents be notified in advance.

Ash even said the following:

Based on your email, I know you strongly disagree with this policy. I can, however, offer you the opportunity to examine the curriculum. I invite you to visit the Estabrook School to look at the materials before they are piloted next year. If your child happens to be placed in a class with a teacher who will be teaching the four of five diversity units, you will then know what will be taught and will be able to talk to your son or daughter about the topics at home.

Our goal is to develop a curriculum that includes the many faces and backgrounds of all students in our community.

The parent conveniently sent the entire exchange to Mass Resistance, who gave their incorrect spin on the situation:

Ash arrogantly tells (the parent) that he will NOT be allowed to be notified when his child is taught about homosexuality, but that he may look at the broad curriculum. This is very insulting. The curriculum and the "materials" can be as general and non-specific as the school chooses.

That’s not only a lie, but it’s a blatant distortion. No one is teaching this man’s child about homosexuality. Acknowledging the existence of different families is NOT the same as teaching sex education.

And Mass Resistance has the nerve to complain when the Southern Poverty Law Center proclaims them an official "hate group."

This exchange reveals what lgbt families have to deal with. It’s one thing for people like Peter LaBarbera, Mass Resistance, Sally Kern, and the rest to have a negative idea of lgbts because that is their right.

But the line must be drawn when they attempt to codify their incorrect definitions of who we are into law. To them, we have no concept of the word family. To use the words of anti-gay activist Janet Parshall, we are “pretend families.”

To the anti-gay industry and those dense enough to support them, homosexuality is wrong not just because it is a Biblical sin. To them, we are outsiders trying to take away what they see as their country and their values.

But we can’t take away these things from them because they were never theirs alone to begin with.

They see us as outsiders because they are too ignorant to comprehend and too arrogant to share.

When they ruminate their lies about the “gay agenda” or the “gay lifestyle,” they never seem to mention same-sex families.

And this is not accidental. You see they seek to try and psychologically put a scarlet letter on us. They not only want to push the idea that we are outsiders, they want to codify the idea in laws and in our minds.

They want to make the ability of starting and having a family so difficult for us that we begin to buy into the lies of hedonistic, sex-crazed, and lonely lgbts.

But they won’t be successful, not in Massachusetts because the laws are on the side of lgbt families.

And they won’t be successful in general.

You see, the fact of the matter is that there are many same-sex families that include children. And these families deserve as much love and support as two-parent heterosexual households.

No family deserves a place on a pedestal above other families.

And no matter how many semantic gymnastics they undertake or how many studies they distort, or how many facts they omit, they can never eliminate the actuality of lgbt families.

In the end, that will be OUR saving grace.

UPDATE: Now it seems that the Ash is being threatened for his stance:

Lexington superintendent Paul Ash of Newton has been threatened by a New Jersey radio host urging listeners to “use threats and violence” against Ash for the school district's new diversity curriculum.

The radio host says “I advocate parents using FORCE AND VIOLENCE against Superintendent Paul B. Ash as a method of defending the health and safety of school children presently being endangered through his politically-correct indoctrination into deadly, disease-ridden sodomite lifestyles.” The site lists Ash’s last known addresses, a phone number, and a birth date.

The host, Hal Turner, is a virulent racist whom hardly anyone pays attention to.

But it would only take one fool to listen and cause problems.

Let's all pray for Ash and hope that this situation is taken care and above all, that no one gets hurt.

And naturally, David Parker, taking a page from Mass Resistance, spins lies:

Parker said he's not surprised by the threats. "You can put it under any guise you want but little children don't need other adults asserting sexual proclivities to them and normalizing it and parents are in an outrage," he said.

Again, teaching about different families is not the same as teaching about sex education, no matter how Parker and his cohorts try to spin the situation.